Valley Regional Medical Center has received the American Heart Association’s Gold Plus Get With The Guidelines® - Stroke quality achievement award for its commitment to ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines, ultimately leading to more lives saved and reduced disability. 

Stroke is the No. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of disability in the U.S. A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts. When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood and oxygen it needs, so brain cells die. Early stroke detection and treatment are key to improving survival, minimizing disability and accelerating recovery times. 

Get With The Guidelines puts the expertise of the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association to work for hospitals nationwide, helping ensure patient care is aligned with the latest research- and evidence-based guidelines. Get With The Guidelines - Stroke is an in-hospital program for improving stroke care by promoting consistent adherence to these guidelines, which can minimize the long-term effects of a stroke and even prevent death. 

“Valley Regional Medical Center is committed to improving patient care by adhering to the latest treatment guidelines,” said Luis E. Gaitan, M.D., board certified neurologist and director of Valley Regional Medical Center’s stroke program. “Get With The Guidelines makes it easier for our teams to put proven knowledge and guidelines to work on a daily basis, which studies show can help patients recover better. The end goal is to ensure more people in Brownsville and our surrounding areas can experience longer, healthier lives. I am proud of the team comprised of members of various disciplines that come together to provide timely and compassionate care for all our patients.” 

Each year, program participants qualify for the award by demonstrating how their organization has committed to providing quality care for stroke patients. In addition to following treatment guidelines, Get With The Guidelines participants also educate patients to help them manage their health and recovery at home. 

“We are incredibly pleased to recognize Valley Regional Medical Center for its commitment to caring for patients with stroke,” said Steven Messe, M.D., chairperson of the Stroke System of Care Advisory Group. “Participation in Get With The Guidelines is associated with improved patient outcomes, fewer readmissions and lower mortality rates – a win for health care systems, families and communities.” 

Valley Regional Medical Center also received the American Heart Association’s Target: StrokeSM Elite award. To qualify for this recognition, hospitals must meet specific criteria that reduce the time between an eligible patient’s arrival at the hospital and treatment with the clot-buster alteplase.  

In addition, Valley Regional Medical Center received the American Heart Association’s Target: Type 2 Diabetes Honor Roll award. Target: Type 2 Diabetes aims to ensure patients with Type 2 diabetes, who might be at higher risk for complications, receive the most up-to-date, evidence-based care when hospitalized due to stroke. 

“When it comes to stroke, every minute counts. The sooner you get the time-sensitive treatment, the better your chance of survival and recovery,” added Gaitan. “If you or someone you know has stroke symptoms, call 911 so they can start to assess you immediately and activate the team at the hospital who will be ready to treat you as soon as you arrive.” 

If someone is having a stroke, think and B-E-F-A-S-T: 

  • B-Balance: Does the person have sudden loss of balance?
  • E-Eyes: Has the person lost vision in one eye or both eyes?
  • F-Face: Watch for facial drooping. Ask the person to smile and see if one side of the face droops.
  • A-Arms: Is their arm weak? Ask them to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
  • S-Speech: Look out for slurred speech. Ask them to repeat a simple phrase, such as: “The sky is blue.” Can he or she do it?
  • T-Time: If you notice any of these symptoms, call 911 immediately. Even if the symptoms go away, still call for help.